Migrant Illegalization and Minoritized Populations

  • Paloma E. VillegasEmail author
  • Francisco J. Villegas
Reference work entry


This chapter reviews literature on the production of migrant illegalization – the identification of immigrants/migrants and those imagined as immigrant/migrant as not belonging and a threat to the nation – and the ways it affects minoritized populations. It employs an intersectional framework to connect the ways immigration status, race, gender, and class converge to define specific populations as “other” and illegalized. It also proposes moving away from binary framings of immigration status, given the multiplication of temporary and precarious statuses globally that produce temporally and spatially specific contexts of precarity. Although socially produced, migrant illegalization has material effects that define individuals as disposable through forced removal or the creation of internal borders that “deter” or produce inhospitable migration contexts. Therefore, migrant illegalization contributes to the local (internal) and transnational development of borders. Finally, the chapter highlights the ways migrants and their allies mobilize to counteract illegalization and construct safer contexts of reception.


Borders Precarious immigration status Citizenship Deportability Deservingness 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SociologyCalifornia State UniversitySan BernardinoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anthropology and SociologyKalamazoo CollegeKalamazooUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melani Shyleen Anae
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Studies, Te Wānanga o WaipapaUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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